Pantun Sunda is a type of Sundanese oral narrative performance interspersed with songs and music played on a kacapi, a kind of zither. A pantun is intended to be recited during an evening-length performance during which a single performer relates the story of a hero's initiation: The protagonist leaves his kingdom to seek experiences, beautiful princesses to become his wife, power, other kingdoms to the subject, the realization of a dream (Rosidi 1984a:143); after having succeeded in reaching his goal he finally returns to his kingdom. Alongside descriptions of historical events, the stories often contain mythical elements. Pantun were originally not written down, the bards often being illiterate and in many cases blind. Originally the performances had a sacred character, as was clear from the offerings made at the beginning of the recitation and also from the content of the introductory part of the story, called rajah, which was an invocatory song, imploring the help of divine figures to ward off bad influences. The linguistic form of the pantun was not strictly fixed, however, the dominant form employed in most pantun is the octosyllabic verse. For a detailed description of the nature and form of a Sundanese pantun you are referred to Eringa (1949), to Hermansoemantri (1977–79).[1]: 10 

Currently, there are few Pantun Sunda shows performed, due to a decline in popularity of the form following the widespread introduction of radio and television in households throughout West Java.[2][3]

Transcription of pantun stories

Pantun, being oral texts, were not written down in the Sundanese literary tradition; only late in the nineteenth century were the first pantun put down in writing (in the beginning usually in cacarakan script) at the instigation of Western (Dutch) enthusiasts. After the establishment of Indonesia, Sundanese scholars made important contributions to the study of pantun, by publishing more oral texts as well as by critically investigating them. Special mention should be made of a project by Ajip Rosidi who in the early seventies had a considerable number of pantun recorded as they were performed by singers from various areas in West Java (see Rosidi 1973). The recorded pantun was transcribed and in stenciled form circulated in a limited circle. Later on, a number of them were published in book form, such as Mundinglaya di Kusumah (1986). An excellent study of the literal structure of the pantun was written by Hermansoemantri (1977–79); Kartini et al. (1984) wrote a useful comparative analysis of the plot of the pantun, based on a survey of 35 pantun stories. A valuable work on the musical aspects of pantun performances, based on extensive data collected in the field, was written by A. N. Weintraub (1990).[1]: 11 

In the Sanghyang Siksakanda ng Karesian, dated 1518, pantun are mentioned: "hayang nyaho di pantun ma: Langgalarang, Banyakcatra, Siliwangi, Haturwangi, prepantun tanya" (if you want to know pantun, such as Langgalarang, Banyakcatra, siliwangi, Haturwangi, ask the pantun singer, Atja and Danasasmita 1981a:14). Throughout the ages many ancient elements have been preserved, even though the content of the stories told and the language used underwent changes and adaptations. Not only are there several Arabic words present in many pantun texts, which in pre-Islamic Old Sundanese text are lacking; the repertoire of present-day pantun singers includes Islamic tales as is clear from the list in Weintraub (1990:23-4).[1]: 11 

List of pantun stories

Based on Budi Rahayu Tamsyah in his book Kamus Istilah Tata Basa jeung Sastra Sunda, there are pantun stories as follows:[4]

  1. Ciung Wanara
  2. Lutung Kasarung
  3. Mundinglaya di Kusumah
  4. Aria Munding Jamparing
  5. Banyakcatra
  6. Badak Sangorah
  7. Badak Singa
  8. Bima Manggala
  9. Bima Wayang
  10. Budak Manjor
  11. Budug Basu /Sri Sadana / Sulanjana
  12. Bujang Pangalasan
  13. Burung Baok
  14. Buyut Orenyeng
  15. Dalima Wayang
  16. Demung Kalagan
  17. Deugdeug Pati Jaya Perang / Raden Deugdeug Pati Jaya Perang Prabu Sandap Pakuan
  18. Gajah Lumantung
  19. Gantangan Wangi
  20. Hatur Wangi
  21. Jaka Susuruh
  22. Jalu Mantang
  23. Jaya Mangkurat
  24. Kembang Panyarikan / Pangeran Ratu Kembang Panyarikan
  25. Kidang Panandri
  26. Kidang Pananjung
  27. Kuda Gandar
  28. Kuda Lalean
  29. Kuda Malela
  30. Kuda Wangi
  31. Langla Larang
  32. Langga Sari
  33. Langon Sari
  34. Layung Kumendung
  35. Liman Jaya Mantri
  36. Lutung Leutik / Ratu Bungsu Karma Jaya
  37. Malang Sari
  38. Manggung Kusuma
  39. Matang Jaya
  40. Munding Jalingan
  41. Munding Kawangi
  42. Munding Kawati
  43. Munding Liman
  44. Munding Mintra
  45. Munding Sari Jaya Mantri
  46. Munding Wangi
  47. Nyi Sumur Bandung
  48. Paksi Keling / Wentang Gading
  49. Panambang Sari
  50. Panggung Karaton
  51. Parenggong Jaya
  52. Raden Mangprang di Kusumah
  53. Raden Tanjung
  54. Raden Tegal
  55. Rangga Sawung Galing
  56. Rangga Gading
  57. Rangga Katimpal
  58. Rangga Malela
  59. Rangga Sena
  60. Ratu Ayu
  61. Ratu Pakuan
  62. Ringgit Sari
  63. Senjaya Guru
  64. Siliwangi


  1. ^ a b c Noorduyn, J. (2006). Three Old Sundanese poems. KITLV Press.
  2. ^ Sunda
  3. ^ "Indonesian Classical Music from Sunda".
  4. ^ Tamsyah, Budi Rahayu (1999). Kamus Istilah Tata Basa jeung Sastra Sunda. Pustaka Setia. pp. 175–176.